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  February 22, 2007 | Earth Defence « Previous | Current | Next » Comments (1) | Archives | About Email lind at

A lot of people are arguing that Harper's stacking of the judicial advisory committees last week is what the Liberals did while in power. It is not. Under the Liberals, government appointees were a minority. The rest were from the legal profession. The committees recommend judges. The government than selects from that pool. So basic standards of quality were upheld: The pool of recommendations was a sound, unbiased one.

But Harper has added a police officer on each committee, meaning that government choices now hold the balance of power. Harper has been blunt about wanting judges that are "tough on crime."

What Prime Minister Harper has done is open the whole process to the sort of political manuevring that has soiled the U.S. justice system. (By the way, the Canadian system is used as an example by justice systems across the world. It ain't broke.) He has appointed a firefighter and failed Conservative Party candidate with no experience in the legal system, along with a number of Tory activists and people known for their right-wing social views. This means that the pool of candidates from which the government choses judges is already politically biased. (Canadian judges say their independence is "in peril.")

It also means that when another party once again takes power, it can do the same thing. It sullies our much heralded justice system in perpetuity. It is a bad policy and deserves the public uproar that its legal dullness likely precludes.

10 Years Ago This Week: February 27, 1997
Even though I drew this cartoon three years before Walkerton, it foreshadows the E. coli outbreak that Ontario Premier Mike Harris' cuts to the Environment Ministry made possible (click on date to see full cartoon). It also foreshadows Horst and Celia's current problems -- or, rather, Horst's personality makes one big foreshadow. Or maybe it was just February.

Retailers for Attack of the Same-Sex Sleeper Cells:

Pages, 256 Queen Street West (at John).
The Beguiling, 601 Markham Street (near Bloor and Bathurst)
Book City, three locations - 501 Bloor St. West, 348 Danforth Ave., 663 Yonge St.
Hairy Tarantula, 354 Yonge Street (near Dundas).

The Bookshelf, 41 Quebec Street.
Macondo Books, 18 Wilson Street

Waterloo: Words Worth Books, 100 King Street South

Kitchener: KW Bookstore, 308 King Street West

Hamilton: Bryan Prince Bookseller, 1060 King Street West



You can see a more extensive portfolio of my work at the blog, including This Bright Future, a distilled and partial continuation of Weltschmerz, Turtle Creek, a daily comic about a turtle and a computer, and Footprint in Mouth, a quarterly cartoon I draw for Alternatives.

Weltschmerz in Print

Weltschmerz ran in Toronto's Eye Weekly from 1997 to 2007. It ran in weekly papers in southwestern Ontario, Ottawa and Edmonton between 1995 and 2008.

Notes on Writing a Comic Strip

I wrote this 17-page, 4 MB PDF document for my workshop at the 2006 Eden Mills Writers' Festival. It details the creation of one strip and gives tips on writing comics.

Politics and Environment

Monbiot | Guardian columnist and Heat author George Monbiot's blog. Not only about global warming, but expect plenty of refutations of the flat-earthers. His writing is witty, incisive and bang-on.

Desmog Blog | An indispensible (and Canadian) resource that "clears the PR pollution that clouds climate science."


Weltschmerz playlist at CBC Radio 3 | Some of the music I listen to while drawing this comic -- independent and Canadian.

This American Life | Radio documentaries that hit the heart, brain and funny bone.

CBC Podcasts | I don't listen to much live radio. Now, podcasts allow me to catch a lot of what I miss. I listen to The Current, Ideas, Spark and Search Engine while inking.


Diesel Sweeties by R Stevens | Witty repartee between guys, girls and robots drawn in a pixelated yet surprisingly versatile style.

Scott Pilgrim Manga-style indie-rock romance by Canadian Bryan Lee O'Malley | The most fun I've had in a comic book in recent memory. Highly recommended.

Dykes to Watch Out For | Alison Bechdel's brilliant weekly strip has been ghettoized because of its gay themes but deserves a wider readership.

Doonesbury | Garry Trudeau is still great after all these years.

Kevin Heuzenga | Enviable drawing style and dry wit. Start with Time Travelling.

Graeme MacKay | The editorial cartoonist for the Hamilton Spectator has a distinctive, addictive drawing style. And he makes me chortle.

Friends and Neighbours

Blog Guelph | Hometown photos and events.

The Narrative | Riveting photoblog. Matt O'Sullivan is at the right place at the right shutter speed.

Breast of Canada | A calendar promoting women's health.

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